Archive for September 25th, 2010

Another interesting discovery of Solar System object

Today another interesting discovery made by the now-defunct WISE (Wide-Field Infrared Survey Explorer) became known. Measurements of the newly discovered object were made January 30 and 31, 2010. The object having the preliminary designation 2010 BK118, had a preliminary orbit, the so-called V?is?l? orbit, named for the Finnish astronomer, Yrj? V?is?l?, who developed the method.

Objects having this type of orbit are not included in the common catalogs of orbital elements of Solar System objects such as MPCORB or ASTORB. To obtain a full orbit, a third night of observations is needed, but it didn’t happen; the object was lost…September 19, 2010 the American sky survey, LINEAR (Lincoln Near-Earth Asteroid Research), discovered a rather bright object (~19th mag. at time of discovery) with an unusual orbit, receiving the preliminary designation BV17485. After confirmation of the object by several observatories around the world and establishing a preliminary orbit, scientists were able to tie it to the orbit of the object lost at the beginning of the year – 2010 BK118. After which the so-called “observation arc”, that is, the period of time between the first and last observations, exceeded 7.5 months, which allowed for sufficient accuracy in calculating the orbit. It became apparent that this was a unique object. The semi-major axis of its orbit is equal to 293.76 a.u. – a total of 9 of all the known objects on the Solar System have a larger semi-major axis. However, all these objects orbit in “normal” prograde orbits. 2010 BK188 orbits backwards, i.e. it has a rare retrograde orbit. The large eccentricity of the orbit (0.98) of this object is characteristic of such distant record-makers – for all objects having a semi-major axis of more than 200 a.u., the eccentricity of the orbit is greater than 0.82.

It is worth noting that one of the known objects – 2010NV1, by the way, discovered in 2010, also by the cosmic telescope WISE after the initial discovery of 2010 BK118, had similar orbital parameters. But the semi-major axis of 2010 BK118 is larger by 20 a.u. Additionally, the perihelion distance, the minimum distance that the object approaches the Sun, is less than 3.3 a.u. – 2010 BK118 passes close to Jupiter at the same time as 2010 NV1 to Saturn.

On both objects there was no sign of cometary activity found, possibility its appearance is prevented by its veery distant location from the Sun. The orbital period of these objects around the center of the Solar System exceeds 5000 and 4500 years correspondingly. and they both belong to the so-called population of scattered disk objects (SDO), but they differ in their extremely small perihelion distance.

Orbit Viewer

September 2010
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